DragonflyTV Nano – Using the Power of Television to Introduce Middle School Children to Nanotechnology

By Richard Hudson1, Joan Freese1, Angie Prindle1, Lisa Regalla1

1. TPT-Twin Cities Public Television, St. Paul, MN

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DragonflyTV logo DragonflyTV is a PBS science series for children, broadcast nationwide and on the internet (www.dragonflytv.org). DragonflyTV models authentic science inquiry through its unique approach: In each episode, ordinary kids conduct their own inquiry-based investigations, modeling the inquiry process and communicating the infectious enthusiasm that comes with making their own discoveries. The new season of six half hours focuses entirely on nanoscience and nanotechnology.

“DragonflyTV Nano” is the first television science series to explore this challenging subject area. Based in recent research into how to teach basic concepts in nanoscience at the middle-school level, the series follows a designed scope and sequence.

The seminar will present previews of the new series and describe the production process, as well as the companion educational materials.

Presenters will include Dr. Richard Hudson, Executive Producer; Dr. Lisa Regalla, Science Editor, and Joan Freese, Editor of Publications. More information, including a list of partners and the subjects covered in the series, can be found at: www.dftvpress.org.

A selection of videos can be viewed online at http://www.tpt.org/dragonflytv/nano/nano_video_promo.php.


image Dr. Richard Hudson is the Director of Science Production at TPT-Twin Cities Public Television in St. Paul, Minnesota. He oversees TPT’s science productions for both adults and children. Current projects include the series DragonflyTV, now premiering its seventh season with a special set of programs on nanotechnology. A new science series for girls called SciGirls begins production in 2009; and The Quest to See Infinity, a NOVA on the history of telescope for the International Year of Astronomy in 2009 is currently in production for broadcast in April.

He is also Executive Producer of a new series based on Make magazine – Make: television. For Nova, he recently oversaw the production Absolute Zero and the Conquest of Cold, with Meridian and Windfall Productions. He was Executive Producer of the PBS science series, Newton’s Apple, and directed the creation of a range of science-learning products, including interactive software, science kits, educator’s guides and web sites. He is a media advisor to the new Center for the Advancement of Informal Science Education (CAISE), an NSF initiative to strengthen the network of producers of science television and build connections to other informal science education organizations.

image Joan Freese is Manager of Promotions, Publications, and Web at DragonflyTV, where she develops promotional and educational campaigns and materials. In this role, she collaborates with the National Science Teachers Association to develop Educator’s Guides, manages Web site production from conceptual stages to placement on pbskids.org, directs the promotional activities for DragonflyTV, and works as a liaison with museum partners, PBS promotions, and the National Center for Outreach. Prior to working with DragonflyTV, Joan worked in online educational publishing at PLATO Learning and the Learning Company, developing reading, math, and social studies content for the K-12 market. She’s also written for numerous print publications, covering the arts and authoring nonfiction children’s books on subjects as varied as figure skating, carpentry, and CSI science. Her nonprofit experience includes freelance grant writing for arts organizations and working in the press office for American Ballet Theatre in New York.

image Angie Prindle is a Producer and Writer for DragonflyTV, and contributed creatively to the DragonflyTV Nano season through story development and segment direction. She collaborated with educators, museum partners, and scientists, along with Twin Cities Public Television production staff to craft productions that blend education with entertainment. Angie traveled to shoot locations nationwide and field directed real kids exploring science hands on, and she supervised segment editing through post production and delivery to PBS. In the television industry for nearly 10 years, Angie has also produced long running prime time documentary, magazine, and reality style TV series for the Travel Channel, and the Home and Garden Network.

image Lisa Regalla is the Science Editor for DragonflyTV and developed science content for this season of DragonflyTV Nano. She was in charge of the scientific accuracy of the production as well as the accompanying educational materials in collaboration with science museums and research institutes. Lisa obtained her PhD in Chemistry in 2007 from the University of Florida. She has had several years of experience in science outreach. Prior to graduate school, she was employed for two years as the Manager of School Partnerships and Outreach Program Coordinator at The Discovery Center of Science & Technology in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Following her graduate career, she was an Education Associate at the Museum of Science, Boston, specializing in educating the public in nanoscale science and technology.

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Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  • Richard Hudson, Joan Freese, Angie Prindle, Lisa Regalla (2009), "DragonflyTV Nano – Using the Power of Television to Introduce Middle School Children to Nanotechnology," https://nanohub.org/resources/6123.

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